Zenosbooks

(07/07/2008) The Memoirs Of Satan by William Gerhardi & Brian Lunn. London. 1932. Cassell & Company. keywords: Literature England Satan. 382 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   SATAN narrates the epic of mankind and the part he has played therein. From the dim days of the remote Ice Age he watches the growth of the world, the coming of man, the part played by love and passion. He gives his version of the stories of Adam and Eve, the destruction of Sodom, the adventures of Jonah, the tribulation of Job ; he recalls the great days of history when he possessed Tiberius, Nero, the Caliph of Bagdad, Cromwell, Marie Antoinette, Napoleon, and many another. Finally, he arrives at a Bayswater boardinghouse, an old man and very weary. He has his last great adventure, makes his last possession, and then his mortal remains are taken for cremation to Golders Green.

William Alexander Gerhardie was a British novelist and playwright. Gerhardie was one of the most critically acclaimed English novelists of the 1920s H. G Wells was a ferocious champion of his work. His first novel Futility, was written while he was at Cambridge and drew on his experiences in Russia fighting the Bolsheviks, along with his childhood experiences visiting pre-revolutionary Russia. Some say that it was the first work in English to fully explore the theme of 'waiting' later made famous by Samuel Beckett in WAITING FOR GODOT, but it is probably more apt to recognize a common comic nihilism between those two figures. His next novel, THE POLYGLOTS is probably his masterpiece Again it deals with Russia He collaborated with Hugh Kingsmill on the biography 'The Casanova Fable', his friendship with Hugh being both a source of conflict over women and a great intellectual stimulus. After World War II Gerhardie's star waned, and he became unfashionable, and although he continued to write, he had nothing published after 1939. After a period of poverty-stricken oblivion, he lived to see two 'definitive collected works' published by Macdonald More recently, both Prion and New Directions Press have been reissuing his works. Asked how to say his name, he told The Literary Digest 'Pronounced jer hardy, with the accent on the a: jer-har'dy. This is the way I and my relatives pronounce it, tho I am told it is incorrect. Philologists are of the opinion that it should be pronounced with the g as in Gertrude. I believe they are right. I, however, cling to the family habit of mispronouncing it. But I do so without obstinacy. If the world made it worth my while I would side with the multitude.'

 

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